What is your favorite book?

(Question from Kevin on Facebook, you too can ask me anything)

Everyone asks me that and I have to say that I think it is one of the most evil questions ever because I love books. How can I have a favorite/favourite? Maybe this is why I only have one kid…because I could never choose. 😉 Seriously, though, my fav book changes depending on what mood I’m in. It’s also changed over the years. I have a lot of authors I re-read (like Jane Austen or Piers Anthony or Terry Pratchett or Garth Nix or…I gotta stop now or we’ll be here forever) that have been favs forever and then others that I used to absolutely adore that I now am more picky about (R.A. Heinlein; I still enjoy a lot of his books but there are some like The Number of the Beast that I find really hard to appreciate now even though I loved it SO much when I was a teen. Seriously, I don’t know what I was thinking.) And then there’s Douglas Adams, who I adore, but haven’t actually read in some time (hmm, maybe I need to get on that).

But. Ok. I’ll pick one.

The Princess Bride. Because it’s both an awesome movie and a book (William Goldman wrote both the book and screenplay). There. Don’t tell the other books.

The Poeming: Rage

RageI quite possibly briefly lost my mind last month when a fellow writer was asking for volunteers to participate in The Poeming: a found poetry project featuring the works of Stephen King. See, they were having issues finding someone to cover RAGE, one of the Bachman Books (King wrote some novels/novellas under a pseudonym way back when), because it is out of print. Well, I happen to own a copy.

Sure, I said, I’ll do it!

Because certainly October isn’t already busy enough and I have time to write a found poem every day. Totes possible.

Anyway, so here I am in October and The Poeming has started. You can find all of my RAGE found poetry at (Rage) Against the Machine over on Tumblr.

It’s an interesting experiment. I decided, since the novel has roughly 31 chapters, that I would base each poem on one chapter. And, after I started, I decided (rather arbitrarily) that I would start at the end; that is, each poem starts with the last line of the chapter (or at least part of the last line).

I wasn’t sure when I started what I was going to explore. I didn’t want to do a re-hash of the book itself. I think what it is turning into is a twirl into madness through one person’s eyes. Maybe not exactly the Charlie Decker (the protagonist) of the book, but someone teetering on the edge.

I think they’ll be best read going from the Chapter One poem on to the end, but feel free to pop over any time and let me know what you think.


How do you like being an Expat & living in London?

I love it. There’s no other city like it. If I could go back in time and tell my horrible Dick Van Dyke British Accent teenage self that I’d wind up living here, I’d probably faint dead away (no knock on Mr. Van Dyke because he’s still totally awesomesauce but even he’d admit his accent was atrocious). It’s also very interesting being an American abroad. You get a perspective on your home country that you’d never get otherwise. I highly recommend travel. But mostly I love Europe in general: the markets, the diversity, the history…I could go on and on.

Do you have a favorite YA Lit author interview from your YA Lit days?

(Question from Jeff on Facebook. You too can ask me anything.)

Yes, I do**. I have to say that I absolutely had the most amazing time getting to chat to Clive Barker on the telephone for around an hour or so. I was a bit starstruck, I have to admit, but he was incredibly lovely and nice. We talked a bit about art and painting and storytelling and life. Most of the interviews I did were via email and Clive was one of the few that I actually spoke to on the phone, so perhaps that was part of the difference.

As a funny aside to that, I got to tell him the story of how my husband and I are partly together because of Hellraiser. See, my husband and his roommate in college decided that they were going to meet ALL the girls in our dorm. They spent a week helping girls move in, carrying their stuff up flights of stairs, etc., etc. (somehow they missed helping me with my mini fridge though…). Anyway, at the end of all that, they invited every single girl they had met to a movie night. They rented a VCR (yes, this was a long time ago), which was no easy thing when you were a new college student with no credit card) and a stack of movies.

The Hellraiser movies.

This is the part of their plan that was a bit faulty, I think. Anyway, so there they are, two guys and probably about 20 or 30 girls, having a Hellraiser movie night. I wound up sitting in front of my now-hubby and we’ve been together ever since.

**For those that don’t know, I was the founder of YA Books Central, one of the largest (and pretty much the first) teen lit sites on the Internet. I ran it for over ten years before turning it over to other capable hands (as I was moving to the UK). It’s still going strong, currently under the leadership of C.J. Redwine, who is awesome.

How has moving from the US to England affected your writing?

(Question from Samantha on Facebook…go ahead, you can ask me anything)

That’s a good question. In some ways, not at all. I wrote ASK ME while living here and that book is set in Florida, where I (mostly) grew up. It was a bit odd to be writing about the oppressive muggy heat of Florida while shivering in a pub in London, but I managed. On the other hand, I’m hoping to launch my next book (a middle grade fantasy) here in the UK and am consequently attempting to use more British-style spellings and phrases. It’s been interesting and a bit of a challenge (all the extra u’s!), especially since I can’t for the life of me make Microsoft Word stick to the English UK dictionary! But, in a general sense, traveling and living new places provides you with the opportunity to broaden your horizons, so it is always a good thing.

Did you always want to be a writer?

The short answer: YES. I have always written. I still have my notebooks from when I was a teen/tween (back before they ever labeled you as a “tween”). Writing is what kept me sane. It still does (sort of).

The long answer: Well, yeah, though I also wanted to do a lot of other things. I grew up in a rather non-traditional house as both of my parents were artists of a sort and traveled around to art shows for a living (my mother painted and my father did woodwork). As a teen, I craved a bit more stability and normalcy so I had this idea that I wanted to grow up and have a “normal” job with a steady paycheck and things like that. It didn’t stop me from being an English major at University (and yes, I’ve heard that “Do you want fries with that?” joke many times) but once I graduated I held a series of normal, boring jobs (I worked for a lot of big companies like Ernst & Young, IBM, and AT&T Labs).

I kind of hated it.

When I got the chance to write full time, I jumped on it. So, in some ways, I feel a bit like I’ve come full circle.

It’s a brand new day…

Actually, it’s a brand new website. On a brand new host (not that that makes a bit of difference to you, O reader).

Basically, this new site is SO new that there’s not really much of anything here at the moment. I’m working on that. I’m also finishing up my final edits on my new book (before it goes off into the ether to my agent) so there might not be loads of interesting things on here for quite some time. I’ll do my best.

In the meantime, hiya! How are you?